I’m sad to be writing this since I had high expectations for both dramas and really wanted to like them. Unfortunately though, it just didn’t work out. And, it’s actually unfair of me to group these two dramas together as The Hypnotist (被催眠的催眠师) is far superior to Psychologist (心理师) in terms of directing style, acting, cinematography, and the overall story in general. But, since I watched them both back-to-back yesterday and these were the two dramas I initially planned on recapping, it feels more appropriate for me to make one announcement instead of two.
In short, the verdict is I will not be writing recaps for either drama because they’re not my cup of tea. If you want to read the longer version of how I felt about the first episode of Qiao Zhenyu’s Psychologist and Yang Le’s Hypnotist though, then continue reading below!
Disclaimer: Please do not proceed if you do not want to read spoilers. Recaps/reviews are written in the opinion of the author and do not reflect the opinions of other contributors of Two C-Ents.
Psychologist – Episode 1 & 2
The drama begins with a kidnapping case, where several teachers and a group of kindergarten students have gone missing for days now. Ouyang Xin (Tang Yixin) finishes watching the news and glances over with mild interest at the crowd of parents protesting outside the police station. She then sets Dr. Xia Mu’s book down on the shrubs before making her way over. She calmly approaches inspector Gao Feng (Qi Ji) and turns herself in as the culprit.
He feels something is off with her behavior though, so he brings in Xia Mu (Qiao Zhenyu) who is the young woman’s psychologist. Xia Mu enters the interrogation room, with what appears to be annoyance and doesn’t show a hint of compassion towards his patient. He sits down and asks why she did it.
In a flashback we see that they first met when Ouyang Xin happily visited Xia Mu’s office with his book and confessed that she liked him very much. Back in present day, Ouyang Xin reveals she did all this so she could see him. Xia Mu remains indifferent and asks her where the kids are.
Through a game of words, Xia Mu believes he knows the location. The police search the woods and hear the faint sound of children crying. There is a paper crane hanging from a tree branch and a tube is poking out from the ground. Gao Feng begins digging. There is a coffin, but it’s empty inside except for a tape recorder and they realize that was the crying they heard. Ouyang Xin had tricked them.
Xia Mu is angry that he had been played and time is running out. Since she refuses to speak the truth, he decides to hypnotize her. Ouyang Xin initially resists, but finally succumbs and falls into a trance. Xia Mu instructs her to tell him the address and she gives it to him this time. He quickly writes it down, but before he can bring Ouyang Xin back to consciousness, she suddenly faints. Gao Feng rushes into the room and asks someone to call for a paramedic and then he leaves with the address.
The children are rescued and reunited with their families. Ouyang Xin is brought to the hospital. She is in a coma; the doctors don’t know when she will wake up. Xia Mu feels guilty, but Gao Feng assures him this isn’t his fault, he did what he had to do or else the children would have died.
After leaving the hospital, Xia Mu sits down at a coffee shop to clear his mind, but when he looks down at his spoon he sees Ouyang Xin’s eyes staring back at him. Startled, he jumps out of his seat and sees her walking on the street. When he hears her voice, Xia Mu quickly runs out of the café and returns to the hospital. Through the window he sees her waving at him, so he rushes through the door and a police officer follows him. But, once inside the room, he finds that Ouyang Xin is still lying on her bed, she hadn’t woken up yet.
Xia Mu is very confused about what’s happening and for the next two weeks, he continues to see Ouyang Xin in his house and at his office. She’s always following him around, trying to get him to talk to her. Unable to take it anymore, he goes to see his ex-wife who is also a doctor. She strongly believes that guilt is the cause of his hallucinations and perhaps, he is also curious about the girl who was infatuated with him. She thinks what he needs is some good rest. Xia Mu decides to listen to her advice. But, before he steps out of the office, she asks him if he sees Ouyang Xin now and when the camera pans over to Xia Mu, we see Ouyang Xin answering, “No,”
In the hallway, Ouyang Xin tells Xia Mu that the doctor won’t ever understand their relationship and she continues to harass Xia Mu until he finally loses it and yells at her, “You’re not real, you’re in a coma,”
But, she doesn’t go away and soon Xia Mu becomes accustomed to seeing her… [End of Summary]
The story itself is interesting, but the way the first two episodes were executed left a bad taste in my mouth. I didn’t like the directing, acting, or choppy editing style. Qiao Zhenyu’s Xia Mu didn’t feel like a professional psychologist and I hated how they used mental illness as a humorous plot device. The way Xia Mu reacted to Ouyang Xin was meant to be cute and funny. But, I just couldn’t get myself to feel that way about a man suffering from dissociative identity disorder.
And the scene where Xia Mu hypnotized Ouyang Xin was so cheesy it made me cringe. I kept comparing it to Memory Lost, where the female lead also frequently used hypnosis, but that drama was on a completely different level (the story, directing, acting, and cinematography were absolutely amazing).
I honestly cannot think of anything I liked about Psychologist. It really was a waste of a good actor like Qiao Zhenyu. I hope he will pick his scripts more wisely from now on, or I guess I should say he should check to see what the production budget is first before signing any papers. I believe that was largely the reason why Psychologist fell short; it was a low budget production, like most web dramas, and the director couldn’t save it.
The Hypnotist – Episode 1
We are taken to the scene of a wedding banquet. A warlord, Commander Yang is marrying his fourth concubine today. The bride arrives and later goes on stage to perform with the opera troupe with the red veil still covering her face. Commander Yang drinks to his heart’s content until he suddenly vomits blood and dies on the spot.
Over at an all girl school, there is an enrollment fair. Kong Mu (Yang Le) goes around passing out flyers for a hypnosis club; he says he will be their teacher. But, the students are skeptical about this new field of study. So, he offers to give a demonstration on the spot.
Kong Mu tells a female student that she will start dancing on the count of three and when he snaps his fingers, she will wake up. He looks deep into her eyes and she soon falls under his spell and seconds later she dances to the amazement of the other students. But, she also starts to strip, so Kong Mu quickly snaps his fingers and once she regains her awareness, she screams and calls him a pervert. Kong Mu runs as the students chase after him.
Police officer Song Yi (Zhuyan Manzi) is eating nearby when she hears the girls screaming. Dropping her chopsticks, she rushes over to catch the culprit. Twisting Kong Mu’s arm behind his back, Song Yi asks the students what’s going on. When they tell her what happened, she immediately sides with the girls and decide to take the pervert back to the police station. But, Kong Mu refuses to go without a fight. He hypnotizes her to prove that he wasn’t lying.
Under a trance, Song Yi shares in front of everyone her story of what happened when her ex-boyfriend dumped her; she run after him and beat him up with her police baton. Kong Mu laughs at her sad memory and tells the students she is unfit to be a police officer, considering the way she abuses her powers.
But, Song Yi doesn’t care. It doesn’t change the fact that he’s a pervert. She handcuffs him just as a group of police officers run by. There’s been a death at the Yang manor. Song Yi drags Yang Le along with her to the crime scene.
When they arrive and learn that Commander Yang died from drinking wine, the chief inspector says it must have been an accident and Kong Mu laughs. Commander Yang’s subordinate immediately glares at him for his inappropriate reaction. But, Kong Mu explains that their conclusion is completely wrong. It couldn’t have been an accident; no one would drink himself to death by accident.
Hearing that, the inspector then suggests it must have been suicide! Kong Mu finds that unlikely as well. If the commander wanted to kill himself, why didn’t he just shoot himself in the head with his pistol? And why would he pick today of all days to kill himself in front of his friends and family?
As the inspector tries to come up with a more plausible explanation, Kong Mu announces that Commander Yang was murdered under the influence of hypnosis and he suspects the culprit is still here.
They release Kong Mu from the handcuffs and let him investigate. After looking around slowly and scanning the crowd, Kong Mu requests to hypnotize the warlord’s trusted subordinate to hear what exactly happened before Commander Yang’s death.
And then we are shown the wedding banquet through the eyes of the soldier, Kong Mu observes the party and decides he must find the signal that hypnotized Commander Yang. Was it the firecrackers or the gunshot? No.
The bride then appear on stage and the sound of the gong catches Kong Mu’s attention, he observes the mysterious woman and notices the ring on her finger. On the stage below, a man walks over to Commander Yang and offers him a toast. They drink and then the man rotates the small wine glass in his hand. He is also wearing the same ring as the bride. Kong Mu makes the connection. It’s the sound of the ring scratching against the cup that hypnotized Commander Yang to drink endlessly to his death.
Kong Mu announces he knows who did it. Borrowing a gun from the solider, Kong Mu then asks the bride to walk with him, away from the crowd. Then he fires the pistol and the bride falls to the ground in front of everyone’s eyes. Her lover runs over and admits his crime as he cries. Why did Kong Mu have to kill her?
As the man is taken away, Song Yi demands to lock Kong Mu up as well. He can’t kill an innocent person like that! But, Kong Mu tells them he didn’t kill anyone and when he snaps his fingers, the bride wakes up. He had hypnotized her to faint at the sound of a gunshot.
Commander Yang’s subordinate thanks him for solving the mystery and vows to help Kong Mu in the future if he ever needed his assistance.
As Kong Mu is about to leave, Song Yi tells him he still needs to go to the police station. It doesn’t matter if he helped find the murderer for this case, he is still a pervert. But, thankfully for Kong Mu, reporters arrive and ask to interview the civilian who helped cracked the case today. The chief inspector orders Song Yi to let Kong Mu go and Kong Mu is photographed along with the chief.
The next day, Kong Mu is sleeping when his fiancée Xia Ye (He Meixuan) wakes him up. He’s in the newspaper and Xia Ye playfully threatens to tell their master that he broke the rules, they’re not allowed to use hypnosis this randomly. But, Kong Mu tells her he had no choice, a murder was committed and she smiles at how worried he is. She would never get him in trouble with their master.
As they are cleaning up the manor, their “da shi xiong” (eldest disciple brother) returns from abroad after being away for three years. His name is Meng Hai (Yang Qiming) and he is the master’s only son. Everyone is happy to see him, but he only has eyes for Xia Ye. He had brought her a gold watch, but didn’t bring anything back for Kong Mu, who says its fine and expresses that he’s just happy their “da shi xiong” is back.
However, Meng Hai coldly replies that Kong Mu would probably be happier if he never returned. Everyone goes silent and one of the other disciples tries to ease the tension by suggesting they go wait for their master, who should be coming out of seclusion soon.
Xia Ye enters their master’s chambers and return to announce that master asks to see Kong Mu first. Meng Hai watches angrily.
Inside the darkened room, master opens his eyes and tells Kong Mu he will one day teach him everything he knows about hypnosis because Kong Mu is his most gifted student. Kong Mu humbly accepts the praise and tells his master they have plenty of time for that in the future.
He wants to go get Meng Hai, but his master suddenly calls him back, something is wrong with the candles… Master points in the direction of Kong Mu and utters a single word, “You…” Then he faints… [End of Summary]
This was actually a very good solid start! It was a promising episode, and in my opinion The Hypnotist was much more enjoyable than Psychologist. The cinematography was beautiful and the story definitely kept my interest for the most part. But, everything felt all too familiar, like I’ve seen it before in another drama, and the preview for episode 2 doesn’t make me want to continue (it seems like the story will follow the trajectory I predicted). So, I might check back at a later time, but for now I’m going to set this one aside.